Prickly Pear Jelly

Prickly Pear Jelly



2 gallon very ripe prickly pear cactus tunas (creates about 2.5 cups of juice)

1/2 cup lemon juice

5 cups sugar

1 pouch (3 oz) Ball RealFruit liquid pectin


6 half pint jars



  1. Collect prickly pear tunas (fruit) when they are dark reddish purple. I use a tongs and fill a 5-gal bucket half way.

  2. Place fruit in a stockpot, cover with water and boil for ten minutes. Drain and rinse.

  3. Place fruit in a food processor. Puree.

  4. To extract juice, scoop puree into double layered cheesecloth. I create a cheesecloth bundle, and hang it over a bowl in my kitchen sink for several hours. 

  5. Discard bundle. Strain juice a second time through fresh cheesecloth to catch any stray seeds and or debris. This yields approximately 2 1/2 cups of condensed prickly pear cactus juice.

  6. Combine 2 1/2 cups cactus juice, lemon juice and pectin in a large heavy-bottomed stockpot. Bring to a hard boil for 3 minutes.

  7. Add the sugar and return to a hard boil until jelly reaches 220°F, 8°F above the boiling point of water (at sea level). I live at 5,000 feet elevation in the desert mountains of West Texas, so I subtract 2 degrees for every 1000 feet. My jelly is ready at 210°F.

  8. Spoon jelly into prepared jars.

  9. Cover jars with water. Can according to Ball website’s instructions for water-bath canning. High altitude canning doubles processing time.

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